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Advice for job seekers

Making successful applications

Once you have successfully found a position you wish to apply for, you need to make sure your application does you justice and provides you with the best possible chance of getting an interview. This means reading the job description and person specification and taking time over your application demonstrating your skills and experience.

How good a match are you?

All employers will be judging how well your application matches the 'person specification' for the position you are applying for. The applicants who closely match the person specification will be the ones that are shortlisted for interview.

To stand the best chance of receiving an invitation is to demonstrate that you do have the skills and experience as stipulated within the person specification and provide clear examples within the supporting information section.

Never submit the same application form twice. Always adapt it to show how you meet the person specification of the particular post you are applying for.

Complete all the parts of the form

Read the instructions within the advertisement and application form very carefully and make sure that you complete all the sections of the application form. The information you give in the 'application for employment' section will be used to decide if you should be shortlisted for interview.

The 'personal information' and 'monitoring information' sections will not be used for shortlisting, but will be kept for administrative purposes only.

Provide good supporting information

The 'supporting information' section is your opportunity to sell yourself therefore make sure you use it to your advantage. You can include any information here that has not been covered elsewhere on the form. Demonstrate why you would be suitable and how you meet the person specification. You need to convince the recruiter that you have the required skills, knowledge and experience and that they should be inviting you for an interview.

You can include, among other things, details about:

  • your duties and responsibilities;

  • your skills, knowledge and/or experience which is relevant to the post;

  • identify any employment gaps;

  • voluntary work you have accomplished;

  • research, publication and/or presentation experience.

Managing the interview

However much preparation you do beforehand, going into an interview is usually slightly nerve-wracking. Do not make the mistake of thinking that, after entering the room, the situation is out of your hands. There are still a number of techniques you can use to make sure the panel sees you in the best possible light.

Interview preparation

It might appear obvious but it is important that you prepare for the day.

  • Make sure you are familiar with the job description and person specification.

  • Remind yourself of what you wrote in your application on how you met those requirements.

  • Learn about the organisation itself – what makes it different from others and whether those differences will have an impact on your work.

  • Think about what type of questions will be asked about yourself and write down some thoughts on how you might answer them.

  • Prepare some questions to ask the panel. Be careful not to ask for information that has already been provided or discussed during the interview.

First impressions

There are a couple of simple steps to take to create a good first impression:

  • Arrive in plenty of time and allow for contingencies. Remember some organisations can be quite difficult to navigate round. Have a 'Plan B' for how you will get to the interview. If you do get delayed, make sure you notify the appropriate person within the organisation as soon as possible.

  • Dress appropriately making sure that you send out the right signals about your confidence, self discipline and judgement. It might be useful to check the dress code of the organisation by looking at pictures of staff on the organisation's website or asking around.

During the interview

  • Make eye contact with all members of the interview panel. Do not just focus on the person who has asked the question you are answering. It is important to engage with all.

  • Smile! It suggests confidence.

  • Be clear and concise in your responses.

  • Structure your answers with 3 or 4 main points of examples from your own experience.

  • Do not assume that the panel know the detail of what is in your application form or CV.

  • Sell yourself - give real examples of 'how' you have achieved a positive outcome, specify what these were and the benefits. Be clear about what your personal contribution was.

  • Remember to use 'I' rather than 'we'.

  • Make sure you understand the organisation's mission and can talk about why it is important to you.

  • Be aware of your body language. You want to convey that you're enthusiastic, positive and energetic.

  • Remember to ask questions as it helps demonstrate that you are keen and want the job.

  • Be positive at all times.

Pre-employment checks

When you become successful at interview and are offered a job, your employer will be required to carry out a series of employment checks. The checks that they carry out will be dependent on the type of job you are going to do.

The types of checks that are carried out are:

Identification documents

You will be asked to provide proof that you have the right to work in the UK. This will mean that you will need to produce either a document or a combination of documents to confirm you are eligible. For example, a passport, a visa or immigration documents if you are a non national. Your employer will advise you which documents you need to show them.

Professional registration and/or qualifications

If your role requires a particular professional registration the employer will carry out a check with the appropriate regulatory body and secure confirmation of the appropriate registration. Where a check has been made employers will not be required to verify your professional qualifications separately.

Where a licence is a requirement confirmation will be sought from the relevant regulatory body as well.

All qualifications that are not associated in any way with a regulatory body will be sought separately.

Criminal record and barring checks

Depending on the role, employers may be required to check whether you have a criminal record. These roles will be subject to a satisfactory disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (known as a DBS check).

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 helps rehabilitated ex-offenders back into work by allowing them not to declare criminal convictions and cautions to employers after a defined rehabilitation period has elapsed, and the convictions become "spent". During the rehabilitation period, convictions and cautions are referred to as being "unspent". Unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings must always be declared as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (as amended by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Act 2012).

Employers may carry out a basic disclosure with the Disclosure and Barring Service to verify this information.

To protect the vulnerable, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended) exempts some professions within the health and care sectors from this approach.

Where the profession has been identified as being 'exempt', employers are legally permitted to consider all convictions, cautions or reprimands and final warnings that are not protected (or filtered out) by the provisions set out in the Exceptions Order. Protected offences will never be disclosed as part of a standard or enhanced DBS check when certain conditions have been met. Applicants are not required to declare any such information when responding to a self-disclosure request or when completing a job application form. Employers must not take any such information into account when assessing an applicant's suitability for a post.

Before completing the safeguarding question(s) please ensure that you read the guidance and criteria for the filtering of these convictions and cautions which can be found on the DBS website at:

If you have a criminal record and:

  • are unsure about what might be revealed about you as part of a DBS check

  • unsure about the type of information you should consider declaring when completing the form

  • need some further guidance

Unlock have: A simple guide to filtering A useful calculator to help you. It identifies any unspent offences that you need to declare. Tel: 01634 247350 (Mon-Fri 10am – 4pm) Text or WhatsApp: 07824 113848 Email:

NACRO have: Practical guidance on the DBS filtering rules Tel: 0300 123 1999 Email:')

If you are applying for a post which involves having access to patients in receipt of health services, you will be subject to a DBS check. Failure to reveal information relating to convictions that you are required to identify could lead to withdrawal of an offer of employment. Where the position falls under regulated activity and meets the criteria for an enhanced criminal record check, the disclosure will include information held against the barred lists for working with children and/or working with adults and any restrictions to that barring.

Please note this particular information within the application form will only be viewed by those who need to see it as part of the recruitment process. Any information disclosed will be treated strictly confidential.

Background checks

Where a position is security related, an employer may wish to carry out background checks regarding your credit history.

Occupational Health checks

All InnaCare staff must receive a pre-appointment health check, which adheres to equal opportunities legislation and good occupational health practice.

All checks take into account the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and reasonable adjustments must be made to ensure that employees can work in their work place regardless of any physical impairment or learning disabilities.

Employment history and references

It is important that you have stipulated your full employment history within your application form and highlighted any employment gaps. References will be sought covering a minimum period of 3 years from your current employer and previous employer/s.

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